INTERPOL President welcomed at WCO Headquarters

22 February 2013

The President of INTERPOL, Ms. Mireille Ballestrazzi, visited the WCO where she was welcomed by Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya on 21 February 2013. They discussed the way forward to enhance the partnership between the two Organizations, as well as to improve cooperation between Customs and police at the national level. Ms. Ballestrazzi is currently Deputy Central Director of the French Judiciary Police and was elected the first female President of INTERPOL at its General Assembly in November 2012. Having long experience in the fight against organized crime, she wished to ensure the highest level of collaboration between the WCO and INTERPOL.

Secretary General Mikuriya appreciated her willingness to further advance cooperation between Customs and police while recognizing the competence and complementary skills of each service. Customs can contribute its expertise on the supply chain and the police its expertise on criminality, in order to achieve a common goal. Both agreed that trust between Customs and police was essential in effectively sharing information and coordinating operations, and that the existing good relationship between the two Organizations should cascade down to the national level.

They also discussed the need to foster innovation, the use of technology and to share best practices between the two Organizations, including the distribution of information, such as the WCO’s Interface Public Members (IPM) tool for fighting counterfeits and INTERPOL’s stolen and lost passport database, to both Customs and police at national level. Finally, they discussed the issue of external funding where both acknowledged the importance of preserving integrity, and undertook to maintain regular contact in the future, including contact on policy issues.